Elsewhere: Man in custody after standoff on the Bay Bridge [ABC7], Armed Man Threatens to Blow Up Bay Bridge, Doesn’t [SFist], Standoff Halts Bay Bridge Traffic; Driver Arrested [CBS5], Bay Bridge Gunman Currently at San Francisco CHP Office [Weekly]
Craig Carlos-Valentino, 51, stopped his vehicle on the upper deck west of Treasure Island at about 7 a.m., and called local radio station KCBS saying he was stopped on the bridge with his daughter and had explosives and a gun, CHP Sgt. Trent Cross said.
After hanging up with KCBS, Carlos-Valentino called 911 and told emergency dispatchers the same thing, Cross said.
CHP officers responded to the area and blocked off traffic. A SWAT team, bomb squad and negotiating team from the San Francisco Police Department also responded.
After making the calls, Carlos-Valentino got out of the car, pointed what appeared to be a handgun in the air, then got back into the vehicle, Cross said.
He then tossed the handgun off the bridge and into the water below. Minutes later, the 16-year-old daughter ran from the car and was taken safely into custody by authorities.
“He told her to leave and that he loved her,” Cross said.
Carlos-Valentino’s daughter was uninjured, but was “a little shaken up,” he said.
She told authorities her father had asked her to join him for breakfast this morning and said he was “acting a little out of character,” according to Cross. Instead of taking her to breakfast, he drove her to the bridge.
“She had no idea he was going to do what he did,” Cross said.
“He’s normally laid-back, very kind, very gentle.”
After letting his daughter leave, Carlos-Valentino then got out of the car again and started talking to authorities about marital problems. He appeared “very agitated, upset and angry,” and said his wife of more than 20 years was having an affair, Cross said.
He started calling family members on a cell phone, and discussed committing suicide “to be with his mother and brother,” Cross said.
He climbed over the rail on the side of the bridge, but the San Francisco police negotiating team convinced him to step away from the ledge and took him into custody around 8 a.m., Cross said.
The SUV was checked for explosives and was deemed safe, although a replica handgun, which may shoot pellets, was found in the car, Cross said. Investigators believe it is similar to the one thrown into the water.
Westbound traffic, which was lighter than usual due to the Veterans Day holiday, was stopped on the bridge at Treasure Island, and cars were turned around at the toll plaza until the scene was cleared around 9 a.m.
The lower deck of the Bay Bridge remained open throughout the standoff. Although the initial report was that Carlos-Valentino wanted to blow up the bridge, investigators later learned he had “only wanted to blow up his vehicle, not the bridge,” Cross said.
“We didn’t have any credible information that the lower deck was threatened,” Cross said.
Some motorists were trapped on the bridge for more than an hour during the standoff. At least one car died and had to be restarted with jumper cables.
Drivers got out of their cars and walked around, some wandering to the edge of the bridge to check out the new eastern span that is under construction.
Although traffic was snarled, Cross said things could have been worse.
“No one was killed, and no one was injured. That’s a success for us,” he said.
Carlos-Valentino was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal threats, felony endangerment and brandishing a firearm, and will be booked into San Francisco County Jail, Cross said.
Following the arrest, Antioch police did a welfare check at the family’s home to see if anyone had been harmed there. They contacted the mother, who was uninjured. An emergency protective order has been issued for Carlos-Valentino to stay away from the mother and daughter, Cross said.
Investigators were interviewing the mother and daughter this morning, Cross said. He said there are other siblings in the family, but did not know how many.
Carlos-Valentino, who said he used to work for the American Red Cross but currently works as a security guard, apologized to authorities for causing the scene at the bridge.
“He’s extremely remorseful,” Cross said. “He feels bad he inconvenienced everyone this morning.”
Photo of Carlos-Valentino: Bay City News
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News